With classic Hollywood looks and a smile to kill, Scott Speedman looks almost too nice. Which, against the odds, makes him a perfect fit for a wildly creepy role in a bleak indie dark comedy about a serial killer.
Speedman, a TV and film vet with starring credits on "Felicity" and "Underworld," is one of three leads in the upcoming Canadian feature, "Good Neighbors," about a few miscast friends thrown together in an apartment building set in a Montreal reeling during a sadistic serial killer's extended run of crime. And while the London-born, Canadian-bred Speedman has featured in plenty of action flicks, the catch in this one is that his character, named Spencer, is bound to a wheelchair.
Which doesn't necessarily make him any less threatening.
Gliding through his apartment effortlessly, he dwells on an aquatic obsession with a massive fish tank, octopus wall murals and a diet consisting mainly of those creatures which he so reveres. Spencer provides a confidante for cat-obsessed social recluse Louise, played by Emily Hampshire, but when Victor, played by Judd Apatow-acolyte Jay Baruchel, moves into the complex, the two enjoy an awkward-at-best relationship.
And then all hell breaks loose.
The Huffington Post caught up with Speedman earlier in the week to discuss the Jacob Tierney-directed film, as well as take on the difference between big screen blowouts and little indie films.
How'd you get involved?
I've known the director, Jacob, for a while, and we had tried to do another movie together before, a bunch of years ago that didn't work out, that fell through. And he wrote this with me in mind and so he handed it off to me and yeah, I thought it was an interesting thing. I thought the character was super interesting, fun. Really, it just seemed like a fun thing to do, to be honest.
He wrote a creepy character with you in mind -- how'd you take that?
It was kind of cool actually, because when you hear that, it's sort of this a-typical character for me. but this was obviously something different, and i think it was more that he was trying to push me and just do something original with me.
Do you go to indie films so you can push your acting boundaries?
I think that's always the case, even if it's big movies or small movies, I think -- maybe it's just me, but I always seem to find the challenge in them. I don't think big movies are necessarily not challenging, acting wise, they can be just as easily challenging, for sure.
Does it make it easier when it's a smaller film to take it in your own direction?
It feels like you're getting to do what you want to do what you want to do. That's kind of the tradeoff, the low money and the no time, it's like, no man, I'm going to do what I want to do and no one is going to tell me otherwise. Which is how you should go about everything, but this gives you that freedom, you feel emboldened that way.
What's it like, the difference between the big budget and the smaller, short time frame indie? How does that impact what you do?
There's something to it, with a small budget, that you get into a fast rhythm, you don't have time to think or over-think everything, get too cerebral and question your choices. You just have to sort of get there and get to work and get going.
How did you try to hide your character's secrets, balancing his outward personality and true self?
To me, it's not, once you've got the character, feeling-wise, if you understand where he's coming from, it's not so much that you have to second guess or monitor what you're doing, you just go by your instincts?
Was there anyone you modeled the character on, got insight from?
Not really. I don't really go there, I don't really monitor it off other people. I just do what comes naturally.
Playing a dark character, being in a film about a serial killer, does it affect you a little bit off camera?
Not really. Also, because this is kind of a stylized piece. I think if you were really getting into the head of a serial killer and really sort of living it out on film in a very truthful an realistic and sort of specific way, I think that could be something that you would take home. But this was something more fun and sort of stylized and heightened.
Was it fun working with Jay Baruchel?
Yeah, Jay's amazing too, he's always, always good, always got something to go off of, always having fun, always being there.
Being in a wheelchair, not something you usually do as an actor. Was it tough to do?
It was tough to be still. The wheelchair stuff is just a technicality that you have to practice and practice and practice. But for me, because I'm pretty fidgety and I'm always sort of moving around, it was interesting to try to be still with a character and just sit and obviously you can't move, that was an interesting challenge for me, to find my acting, without all that.
Were you conscious of it?
Sure, to a point. But once you get in there, again, you try to get out of thought, so you're not thinking about it too much.